Two nights after the ambush of a female lawyer and her son in Mandaue City, a motorcycle-for-hire driver was gunned down in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on Saturday night, Sept. 3, 2022. The two shooting incidents were unrelated; however, there’s a glaring similarity—the crimes were carried out by people riding motorcycles.

Several homicide cases carried out by motorcycle-riding individuals have remained unsolved. This is because the perpetrators wore full-face helmets.

In July 2020, the Pagadian City Council in Zamboanga del Sur passed a resolution for a temporary suspension of wearing full-face or half-face helmets. The city lawmakers made such a move after a series of robberies rocked Pagadian City, and some of the victims were killed at gunpoint. It’s unclear though whether this is still enforced two years after the passage of the resolution.

The resolution clearly violates provision of Republic Act 10054 (Motorcycle Helmet Act) that mandates the use of helmets. “All motorcycle riders, including drivers and back riders, shall at all times wear standard protective motorcycle helmets while driving, whether long or short drives, in any type of road and highway,” read the provision.

The Pagadian City Council still passed the resolution. It possibly saw that one of the ways to prevent robberies and other crimes in the future is for the riders not to wear helmets.

Should Cebu follow the Pagadian City Council? There’s no scientific study that the non-wearing of helmets would lead to fewer crimes carried out by motorcycle-riding perpetrators.

For sure, the effective way to deter crime is the round-the-clock police visibility in the streets, including the conduct of checkpoints late in the night and in remote areas.

Police visibility has a great impact against crimes. Installing more closed circuit television cameras would also help a lot.

The deployment of police officers to the streets has not been consistent over the years. It depends on the sitting police chief.

In Cebu City for instance, there was a time when several outposts were installed in the streets and these were manned by police officers all the time. But these days, most of these police outposts are empty except when homeless people make them a place where they can sleep for the night.

Police visibility, where are you?